At Gizmodo, Thomas Germain writes:
Tech news website CNET has deleted thousands of old articles over the past few months in a bid to improve its performance in Google Search results, Gizmodo has learned.
Archived copies of CNET’s author pages show the company deleted small batches of articles prior to the second half of July, but then the pace increased. Thousands of articles disappeared in recent weeks. A CNET representative confirmed that the company was culling stories but declined to share exactly how many it has taken down.
CNET claims that removing articles helps with search engine optimization (SEO), even though Google explicitly advises against it. Who to believe? Google’s goal is to produce the “best” search results, whereas SEO experts aim to get their content into the top spots in search results by any means possible. Though I’m dubious of most SEO claims based on my experience with the TidBITS and Take Control sites over decades, it’s conceivable that SEO experts have discovered a hack that works—until Google tweaks its algorithms in response. Regardless, I disapprove of deleting legitimate content because there’s no predicting what utility it could provide to the future; at least CNET says it’s sending deleted stories to the Internet Archive. CNET writers might want to set up accounts with Authory (see “Authory Provides Writers a Permanent Record of Their Articles,” 24 March 2023).